Early Blue Violet, Viola palmata

Early Blue Violet

Viola palmata

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Moist
Color: Purple
Fragrance: No
Height: 6-12 inches
Spacing: 6-12 inches

Early Blue Violet, Viola palmate, is a perennial wildflower consists of a rosette of low basal leaves about 4-7 inches across, from which several flowering stalks develop. The blades of the basal leaves are 1½-3 inches long and similarly across; in outline, they are oval, orbicular, or orbicular-reniform. Early leaf blades usually lack lobes, while later blades have 3-5 major lobes and sometimes smaller secondary lobes.

Individual flowers develop from ascending pedicels. The flowers are usually held above or beyond the leaves. The pedicels are either smooth or hairy. Each flower is about ¾-1 inch across, consisting of 5 spreading blue-violet petals, 5 light green linear-lanceolate sepals, 5 inserted stamens, and a pistil with a single style. The two lateral petals have small tufts of white hairs at their bases, while the bottom petal has several violet veins on a white background that function as guides to the short nectar spur in the back of the flower. These flowers bloom during mid- to late spring for about 3 weeks. Later during the summer, inconspicuous cleistogamous flowers are produced on short pedicels. These flowers are self-fertile. The flowers are replaced by ovoid-oblong seed capsules that split open into 3 sections, ejecting their seeds. The small seeds are globoid and brown.

The preference is partial sun, mesic to dry conditions, and soil that is loamy or rocky. This violet is relatively intolerant of heavy leaf litter and competition from taller ground vegetation. The root system consists of a vertical crown with fibrous roots. This wildflower spreads by reseeding itself.

Habitats consist of upland woodlands, rocky open woodlands, wooded slopes, riverbanks, and thinly wooded bluffs. In these habitats, oaks are often dominant as canopy trees. Three-Lobed Violet is usually found in higher quality woodlands where the original ground flora is still intact.

 Further Information

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 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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